Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 Vermont Bar Journal, Fall 2017, Vol. 48, No. 3 - Page 34

Process Some of the most common mistakes are applications which only outline in- direct legal funding, failure to show how many might be served under a proposed grant, or asking for funds for organizational support rather than direct legal services.  I also note that at times there appear to be missed opportunities of potential grantees who might benefit from more collab- oration with other applicants and/or communication that might eliminate duplication of efforts. When I asked attorney Bugbee the same question, he corrected me by saying, “I am not sure I would call it a mistake-- the big- gest deficiency would be a project or orga- nization whose scope is too limited in the number of people it benefits.” The review process begins once all ap- plications are received. Attorney Barber helped explain the review process by stat- ing that the process is quite lengthy as it takes a fair amount of time to go over all of the grant applications and that on av- erage, they receive approximately 17 ap- plications.  Once the VBF receives all the grant requests, the VBF Executive Director, Debbie Bailey, organizes them and sends them out to each member of the Commit- tee.  Each Committee Member then takes the time to review all grant applications and to craft questions for the commit- tee point person on each grant applica- tion to follow up with potential grantees for more information.  Once all of the re- sponses are received the Committee will meet in person.  The Committee gener- ally spends the better part of the day re- viewing each application as a Committee and determining the recommendations as a Committee to the VBF Board.  The Grant’s Committee Chair will then write up recommendations and sub- mit them to the VBF Board for consider- ation.  I also asked attorney Bugbee how long a candidate should anticipate wait- ing before a response is given and he said that the screening process takes about a month, and the recommendations are taken up by vote at the next VBF board meeting. Once the grants are awarded the VBF uses monitoring procedures to insure accountability from its grant recipients. Each applicant as part of the application process is asked to sign a Grant Contract, agreeing to use the money in a certain way and to report its use. All competi- tive grant recipients must agree to both an interim six-month report, due no lat- er than January 31 and a final report, due no later than August 31 which is to be sub- mitted to the VBF. In the Interim Report, grantees should highlight the specific con- tributions or impact of IOLTA funding and describe and quantify the services or pro- grams made possible by the grant expen- diture to date. The Grantee, in the Final Report, should relate the impact of fund- ing, covering the entire grant cycle, and in- clude a program narrative and a financial statement summarizing the expenditure of the IOLTA funds. Grantees must either re- turn any unspent funds at the end of the grant cycle, or submit a carry forward re- quest with a full grant application for the next grant cycle. While a lengthy and complicated pro- cess, the Grants Committee is a fine-tuned machine. They play an important role in improving access to justice and legal ser- vices to Vermonters in need. Check out the VBF website for a list of this year’s grant- ees. Of course, none of this would be pos- sible without the assistance of all attorneys who place their IOLTA accounts in institu- tions with higher interest rates and attor- neys who donate to the VBF. Thank you all for your support! The VBA is pleased to offer pocket Constitutions, along with our panel pre- sentation videos or written templates, to any lawyer or judge who would like to present to a school or civic group about the Constitution. Last year, many members mobilized to bring presenta- tions to schools around the state, and the reports were quite uplifting. Please keep the momentum going and take an hour of your time to edu- cate our youth and the public about this amazing, surprisingly short, complex, relevant and effective document gov- erning all of our civil rights and estab- lishing the rule of law. Contact us at if you are interested in presenting and would like to utilize any of these resources. VBA President Mike Kennedy and Executive Director Teri Corsones at the 2017 Constitution Day 34 THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL • FALL 2017